Government accused of riding roughshod by MCESD Employers bodies

DOI / Omar Camilleri

Four captains of industry who sit on the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD) have put their name to a statement which criticises the government for undermining the democratic process of consultation. This statement was issued after the appointment of former GWU top official James Pearsall to the chairmanship of the MCESD replacing John Bencini.

Tony Zahra who heads MHRA, Doris Sammut Bonnici who heads MEA, Paul Abela who heads the Malta Chambers for SMEs and David Xuereb who heads the Malta Chamber of Commerce issues a statement complaining that “ Government is in principle demoting the important role which structures like MCESD have in democratic societies, especially across the European Union”.

Discouraging

These members of the MCESD represent the main employers’ bodies in the MCESD. They chided government for the appointment noting that the MCESD holds an important advisory role in the governing and policy making structures of the country. This role, they said, is publicly recognised by Government and the country’s Social Partners. “It is therefore discouraging to note that despite the various reports, recommendations made and discussions held over the past years to ascertain the appropriate status of this important national institution, Government has not consulted MCESD members in a suitable manner in the latest appointment of the new Chairman” said these members of the MCESD.

Fait Accompli

Irrespective of the person chosen for the post, the Employer Bodies said that they feel duty bound to comment on the procedure adopted. In the opinion of the Bodies, by simply informing them about fait accompli decisions, Government shows it does not share the same spirit of a consultation process. The MCESD Employers Bodies asserted that the appointment of the MCESD chairperson should mirror the appointment process of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).

“If Government really wants to uphold the principles of good governance it needs to start practising what is preached by first abiding to expected procedural practices in important decisions such as the appointment of the MCESD Chairman whose role is critical to ensure the appropriate functioning of the Council” concluded the Employers’ Bodies. .